Muscat: Oman’s industrial estates had attracted investment to the tune of OMR6 billion till the first half of 2016, according to Hilal bin Hamad Al Hasani, chief executive officer of Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE). The PEIE is witnessing continuous growth in the industrial sector.
“The number of projects in various industrial estates has touched 1,688, of which 277 projects are under construction, and 349 projects have been allotted land,” Al Hasani added, while issuing a statement to mark the industry day. “It is expected that a large portion of these projects will initiate their operational processes in the near future.”
Al Hasani added that during the first half of 2016, the PEIE was able to attract investments of OMR228 million in various industrial estates. By the end of the first half of 2016, the PEIE had provided more than 46,000 job opportunities in the existing and new projects, of which 17,000 were for locals.
Moreover, the total leased area in the various industrial estates pertaining to the PEIE had touched 33.2 million square metres during the first half of 2016.
“The PEIE’s tender regulations have been published in the official gazette in the beginning of this year. This will give PEIE the flexibility in providing services in its industrial estates in accordance with the best management practices,” Al Hasani said.
He confirmed that the regulations have been reviewed and are expected to be published during the first half of 2017. The regulations will offer a new set of features and facilities that will attract local and foreign investments, based on Royal Decree number 32/2015.
“A master plan has been prepared for the Sohar Industrial Estate,taking into account the current seven phases and the surrounding developments.
The master plan covers both, basic infrastructure and social welfare, such as housing, recreational and commercial facilities which are required to support the industrial activities,” Al Hasani noted.
The first phase of this master plan involves an analysis of the estate’s current status, an analysis of the current seven phases, and an analysis of the usage of lands and infrastructure, among other aspects. The second phase involves preparation of an integrated master plan, determining the industrial sectors and taking into account the usage of land for each sector, and providing and developing the required infrastructure for each sector while considering the recommendations for potential future expansion areas.
The third phase focuses on preparing a detailed plan to develop facilities and services.
There is also a study to push the pace of development and assess the viability to localise industrial investments at the Sur Industrial Estate.
The study also looks at identifying the major investment sectors and the essential infrastructure to mark the estate as an attractive investment destination.
Shumookh Investment and Services Company, the investment arm of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates, has recently invested in the National Frankincense Products (Oliban). “Shumookh carried out a study on the products of this company.
It produces 21 products divided into three segments—personal care, healthcare, and hotel products. Through this investment, Shumookh aspires to support the local brand by directing it towards the right path to achieve its vision of reaching the international markets,” Al Hasani added. This year, the company is targeting the UAE, Qatari and Saudi markets. Besides, there is already demand from Germany and Bahrain to becomedistribution agencies for Oliban products. Shumookh has also initiated a National Centre for Electricity to offer smart and innovative solutions.
In continuation of the PEIE’s approach of supporting training efforts, it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). As per the MoU, the PEIE will coordinate with various companies and factories operating in the industrial estates to employ trainees as full-time employees immediately after they complete the training programme successfully.
The incubated companies at the National Business Centre (NBC), which falls under the umbrella of PEIE, generatednet earnings exceeding OMR1.2 million in 2016.
Knowledge Oasis Muscat
“Today, there are 34 companies incubated in the NBC and Riyada with an occupancy rate reaching 77 per cent. These companies have recruited 81 Omani nationals,” Al Hasani said. The NBC initiative was launched by the PEIE at the Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) to offer promising Omani entrepreneurs a platform to develop their business ideas and help them grow into full scale ventures.
Al Hasani commented that the PEIE had organised a number of events in 2016 to support the locally manufactured products and motivate consumers, individuals and institutions, to buy and support Omani products. A line-up of Omani Products’ Exhibitions was organised in a number of commercial centres in Oman as part of the Origin Oman Campaign to disseminate awareness about the significance of supporting Omani products and its direct contribution to the advancement of the national economy.